1. Bus Stops: Lagosians know that the best way to avoid a commercial bus taking you beyond your destination (especially when you are new in the city) is to continually yell your bus stop.
The bus conductors hate it. Because your yelling at them looks like they don’t know their jobs. So don’t be surprised to hear, “Oga, why you dey shout, I hear you jare” when next you yell to alight at the next stop!
2. Change: This change is not the APC type. It’s a term loosely used to mean your balance after paying your fare. Lagos conductors are notorious for the act of making you forget your change. Every Lagos JJC falls for this. So you are natural enemy of the conductor once you insist on having your change handed to you immediately.
3. LASTMA: Okay, seriously who doesn’t find officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) annoying? Everyone does, so do bus conductors. When the buses are apprehended for any traffic offence, the conductors are the first to suffer the assault because they know the conductors keep all the proceeds
4. Staff: In local Lagos bus parlance, a staff is any military, paramilitary personnel, sometimes retired, who insists he/she will not pay the fare. One Staff too many means the conductors will go home a little less.
5. Touts/National: Up National! These are the members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). Many Lagosians regard them as uniformed touts and they fleece the commercial bus drivers for all sorts of fees and charges. If the driver tries to pull a Nicholas Cage ‘Gone in 60 seconds’ move, they drag down the conductor and pummel him.
6. Students/lapping: Schools close and the bus stops are filled with students, they rush for buses and eventually the whole bus is filled with lapping and ‘overlapping’ school kids. The conductors find this extremely annoying.
7. Fat passengers: If you are on the big side, obese, or simply fat, Lagos conductors make no attempt to be politically correct. They regard fat people with disdain, so to steer clear of their trouble, you must be willing to pay for two seats or just get yourself a private cab.
8. Slow drivers: The duo of the driver and conductor usually form a chaotic synergy. The driver steers while the conductor serves as the human side mirror cum navigator. The slow or ‘not so sharp’ driver can be of disastrous consequences to the tag team.
9. Traffic: Conductors hate traffic as much as the next Lagosian.
10. Competition: There are hundreds of buses usually competing for passengers along different routes, they hate the competition and hence have invented gimmicks to survive the competition.
Editor’s Note: This piece, authored by this reporter and which first appeared in the now defunct 234NEXT newspaper, has been edited to reflect current realities.